Emptying My Notebook: Royals’ Official, Coach Discuss Bubba Starling

(Dano Keeney/MiLB.com)

(Dano Keeney/MiLB.com)

Royals player development director Scott Sharp on Starling’s defense:

  • “He may be one of best center fielders I have ever seen, certainly at the Minor League level.”
  • “[Pointing out his defensive deficiencies] would be nitpicking. Like all our players, he needs continued game play. He’s really polished, very little I would say that needs to improve.”
  • “Defensively, he’s really superior, but he doesn’t neglect it. He works hard at it.”
  • “Do I think he can play defense in the Major Leagues right now? Sure, I do. I didn’t play outfield or in the Major Leagues, but they say the third deck [in stadiums] messes with you a little, but that’s an adjustment. It would be more nuanced type stuff, scouting reports on players and what pitchers are doing to hitters, that kind of thing.”
  • “We ask our center fielders, ‘If you’re moving, make sure your [corner] outfielders are moving with you.’ Being a quarterback, I think it comes natural to him. He’s used to moving guys around the field, and he’s vocal and has leadership skills, so it comes naturally to him.”
  • “He’s made a lot of over-the-head catches when it’s behind him. He just drops his head, turns around and puts his head up and looks up at the right time.”

Royals Rookie-level Burlington coach Tommy Shields on Starling’s defense:

  • “He has an innate sense of where to be.”
  • “His throwing arm from an accuracy standpoint will continue to improve as he gains experience, but when he has to make a throw, he seems to be his most accurate anyway.”
  • “I don’t know that his routes can get any better.”
  • “From coaching staff standpoint, you have to monitor and move ‘em [positioning-wise]. You spend a lot of time looking at them from the dugout, moving guys, but we didn’t because he would drag the left fielder or push the right fielder.”
  • “All the center fielders I played with and managed have not been 6’4” 215 pounds, so he’s definitely a little different breed. I’ve heard the Dale Murphy comparison.”
  • “We were playing Toronto’s club [Bluefield in July 2012] and Dennis Holmberg, a longtime manager of Blue Jays affiliates, and Bubba went back toward the fence and caught a ball over the shoulder like Willie Mays, and Dennis immediately spun around and looked to our dugout and said, ‘Holy [expletive].'”

Royals official on Starling’s interview availability:

  • “Bubba has respectfully decided to go silent this spring in order to concentrate on the field.”

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